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TIFF opens with Blind Dates

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, December 2
The Tbilisi International Film Festival (TIFF) offers a variety of art house films this year.

“The festival is not a luxury, it is a necessity,” the General Director of the TIFF, Gaga Chkheidze, said at Thursday’s press conference at Tbilisi Marriott Hotel. He said as there is no film market in Georgia, the accents of the festival is made on film as art which is a way of expression.

Chkheidze said it is a good tradition that the TIFF either opens or closes with Georgian films. He said the TIFF will be a good opportunity to relax with art house films after the intense political developments in Georgia during the year.

The TIFF is open to everyone, from professional cinema critics to directors, producers, and anyone who is somehow connected to cinematography or simply loves tasteful films.

Apart from the traditional sections, the TIFF will offer free master classes on various thematic issues from documentary film making to set design and editing under the title Cinema – Passion and Profession.

International competitions, Forum of European Cinema, Horizons, Made in Germany, Films across Borders, World in Docs, and Georgian Panorama offer the best films of 2012-2013. Moreover, the TIFF opens its doors to the young students of the Georgian State University of Theatre and Film to show their short films to a wider audience, while the festival of animated films, Topuzi, presents the works of Georgian and foreign animators.

This year’s country in focus is Finland, while the director in focus is Ulrich Seidl. His trilogy, “Paradise: Love; Faith; Hope”, will take a special place among the films presented during the TIFF. Love is the Basic Human Right is a new section of the festival. Chkheidze said the TIFF will offer similar sections to promote human rights every year as the public cannot avoid discussing these issues.

As a non-commercial organization, the TIFF depends on sponsors, and is mainly financed from the state. However, Chkheidze said this year the TIFF has received great “moral support,” which means that more and more people realize its value from year to year.

The TIFF is a forum of films which is held at the end of each year and summarizes what has been done in Georgian cinematography. The festival invites guests who may become future partners of Georgian directors and gives birth to co-productions apart from exchanging experiences. For example, Iranian film director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, who was the head of the jury of last year’s festival, returned to Georgia to shoot a movie in Georgia.

The First Deputy Minister of Culture and Monument Protection Marine Mizandari welcomed the festival on behalf of the Minister Guram Odisharia. Calling the TIFF “a well established tradition,” she said this is a platform for alternative films which Georgia lacks so much. “This is an important event in the life of Georgian society in variety of terms,” Mizandari said stressing that the TIFF is a cognitive festival that serves the development of taste among society.

“I am sure it is also to your merit that Georgian directors have success abroad,” Mizandari addressed the organizers of TIFF, stressing that this festival is a good start for many directors.

The Director of the Georgian National Film Center, Nana Janelidze, said the TIFF has grown a lot since its first year of existence, when she was a member of the jury. Praising the Georgian films prescreened at the 14th festival, she said the TIFF gives everyone an opportunity to see masterpieces from all over the world and thus makes one more interesting page in its 14 year history of existence.

By making Tbilisi the centre of attention of the world of cinematography with its special guests, the TIFF opens its doors for the 14th time tonight at Amirani cinema at 19:30.

Opening and closing films viewed by invitation only. However, during the whole festive week, the remainder of the 112 films will be available at the box offices of Rustaveli and Amirani cinemas as well as for a symbolic 2 GEL.

However, an hour before the official part of the festival, Cinema Art Center Prometheus and Tiflis Hamqari will hold a demonstration in front of Apollo Cinema at 135 Aghmashenebeli Avenue. Apollo, which is now privately owned, was Georgia’s first cinema house, opened in 1909. Thus the peaceful demonstration will encourage the state to do everything possible to return the cinema to the Georgian community.